5 Ways to Reduce Your Water Heater’s Eco Impact

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You may have heard that you should try to use less hot water, set your water heater to a lower temperature, and perform other slightly inconvenient actions to reduce the impact your water heating has on the environment. Fortunately, modern technology has come up with a variety of ways to reduce your water heating usage without any inconvenience or discomfort.

So you don’t have to take slightly chilly showers or even shorten them; instead, take one or more of these four steps to reduce your water heater’s environmental impact without depriving yourself.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Call your Local Plumbers in Naperville if you have frozen pipes! Winter can prove an enchanting time for many people. Family members gather for the holidays, while some hard-working homeowners flee for sunnier climates or winter sporting opportunities. However, many of the season’s events also pose special challenges for your home’s plumbing system.

If you want to enjoy your winter as thoroughly as possible, you should understand these seasonal challenges so you can take preventative measures against them. Start by adopting the following five strategies for keeping your plumbing safe and functional all winter long.

4 Reasons to Consider a Shut-Off Valve Replacement for Your Home

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If you have a water emergency in the house, the shut-off valve becomes one of the most important areas to access. A shut-off valve will block all water access to the home and end leaks that could occur in kitchens, bathrooms, or other areas.

The valve itself is most likely ignored a majority of the time, but an inspection every few years will help determine if the valve needs replacement. A replacement valve can make a big difference in an emergency. Learn some of the reasons to consider a shut-off valve replacement and some signs to look for to know when to replace yours.

5 Reasons to Rely On Professional Plumbers for New Product Installations and Upgrades

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Upgrades to the plumbing in your house can make big differences in the way you use your water daily. A new showerhead could provide increased water pressure. New kitchen sink faucet features could change the way you do dishes and make the process easier. When you purchase plumbing upgrades, you may feel confident following directions or watching tutorials.

Unfortunately, when you deal with plumbing, one error could lead to massive water damage. While you can purchase any upgrade or product you want and find the best deals on those products, you should contact a plumber for professional installation. The use of professionals comes with many benefits and allows you to enjoy the upgrades without problems.

3 Plumbing Repairs Ideal for First Time Parents

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Being a first-time parent comes with a lot of stress, busy days, and focus on the new baby. With the new baby in your life, you may find it easy to let some other household tasks fall on the wayside.

Thankfully, a professional plumber can help along the way and help first-time parents get over all of those plumbing hurdles. Follow this guide to learn about some plumbing issues that may come up in the first few years of a baby’s life and how a plumber can help with repairs. Ignoring the issues early on could lead to much bigger problems in the future.

4 Reasons to Use a Power Rodding Service Once School Starts

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Plumbing services should not just cover emergency situations. If you want your home’s plumbing to run smoothly, then maintenance appointments will provide essential services to help prevent problems in the future. One service to consider for your home is power rodding. Power rodding involves a metal cable that plumbers will feed through drains.

The metal cable has a small rotating cleaning tool on the tips that can spin and break apart clogs without causing any damage to your pipes. As the children in your home plan a return to school, you have an ideal time to schedule a power rodding service. Learn why this specific timing is beneficial.

5 Signs You Need a Sillcock Replacement

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Access to an outdoor faucet on the exterior of your home comes with many advantages, such as easy access to water for gardening or to clean items like bikes and lawn mowers. The main spout of an exterior water access point is known as a Sillcock. This outdoor faucet is also referred to as a spigot, spicket, or hose bib. A Sillcock connects to your main water line. Unfortunately, outdoor conditions can change the way the Sillcock works.

If you feel like your Sillcock has not performed correctly or is in need of a repair, then look for some key signs. You may have noticed the signs in the past and ignored them, but the issues could lead to bigger problems with your home’s plumbing. Check out some of the signs to watch out for, and learn when you should call a plumber for a Sillcock replacement.

5 Sounds That May Signify Plumbing Problems

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If you’ve ever found yourself kept awake by things that go bump in the night, you already know that homes can generate all kinds of odd, apparently inexplicable noises. While some of these sounds may stem from foundation settling or other non-urgent issues, others can occur due to plumbing problems that require professional care.

Once you know what kinds of sounds a plumbing issue can create, and what those sounds may signify, you can recognize a problem and contact your plumber for an inspection before that issue can develop into a crisis. Pay special attention to the following five sounds that often signal plumbing trouble.

4 Plumbing Issues That Can Impact Your Utility Bills

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Young Couple Working on Their Utility Bills — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc
Homeownership can sometimes feel like business management, in the sense that you must constantly stay on top of the various threats to your household budget and expenses — including utility bills. The amount of money you must spend on electricity, gas, and water can vary greatly, especially in the face of a plumbing problem.

If you’ve struggled to understand strange and unexpected increases in your monthly utility bills, you may need to look for a potential plumbing issue that drives your usage up without your knowledge. Take a moment to explore four kinds of plumbing issues that can cost you a lot of money while also creating other problems for your family.

Questions and Answers About Basement Plumbing Problems

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Basement Room with Stone Trim Walls — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

Basements can serve as wonderfully useful and convenient additions to a home. You may have converted your own basement into a laundry room, for instance, or added a sink assembly as part of a remodeling upgrade to turn the basement into a hobby room. However, plumbing problems can make your basement inhospitable or even dangerous.

If you want to preserve both your home’s value and your basement’s utility, you need to know what kinds of plumbing problems can cause trouble for this often-ignored subsurface structure. Consider the following questions and answers about the various kinds of plumbing problems that can affect your basement.

What Plumbing Problems Can a Basement Laundry Room Experience?

A basement can make the perfect site for a laundry room, especially if it already offers easy connections to your home’s water heater and plumbing lines. Bear in mind, however, that washing machines can develop mechanical issues as they age, and that some of those issues can leave your basement laundry room flooded.

A laundry room flood may stem from a failed seal or leaks in the hose that goes from the washing machine to the plumbing system, especially if clogs in the hose have caused abnormal pressure buildup. To avoid problems, have your hot and cold water shut off valves to the washing machine installed properly. Floods may also occur if your washing machine pumps more water into your basement drain pipe than the pipe can handle, forcing the water to back up.

Whenever a basement flood involves electrical appliances, you must shut off the power to those appliances as a safety measure to prevent electrocution. If your basement houses a sink or toilet, avoid using these appliances as well until your plumber can identify and fix the underlying problem. A failed laundry pump or sump pump can also cause flooding.

How Can Cold Weather Damage Your Basement Plumbing?

Illinois sees more than its share of frigid weather. As water freezes within plumbing pipes, it expands. The pressure from this expansion can cause plastic or metal pipes to crack or even explode. You can largely avoid this catastrophe by letting your outdoor water lines drain out completely before winter weather hits. On freezing days, let various sinks trickle to prevent pressure buildup.

How Do Sewer Line Blockages Affect the Plumbing in Your Basement?

Your entire home’s plumbing system works as an integrated network of lines, all of which send wastewater out to the main sewer line. Unfortunately, what normally goes out can also come back in. A slow or clogged basement drain line can cause or contribute to such backups, creating problems for the basement and other areas.

If your home’s main sewer line gets clogged, wastewater may bubble up through your basement floor drain whenever you flush the toilet. This problem can occur when the toilet’s line fills up with items it can’t pass easily, or when ingrowing tree roots block the water flow inside the line.

This wastewater may enter your basement drain and then recede without you realizing it. However, if you smell raw sewage in your basement or see bubbles coming up into your toilet, you could have either a clogged basement drain line or a clogged main sewer line. Get these symptoms checked out immediately.

How Do Basement Plumbing Problems Affect Your Home’s Air Quality?

Your home’s plumbing pipes allow for ventilation of sewer gas as well as the movement of water. For this reason, the system needs proper ventilation as well as clear hoses and pipes. Without this ventilation, your family could risk exposure to toxic (and potentially combustible) carbon monoxide in the air.

Even the smallest leaks in your basement plumbing can add unwanted moisture that fosters mold growth. This mold can trigger or aggravate allergies and breathing problems while also damaging the drywall and other surfaces in the basement. If you see (or smell) mold in your basement, schedule a plumbing inspection.

What Can Happen if Your Basement Sump Pump Fails?

When a plumbing malfunction or natural disaster causes your basement to flood, your sump pump should come to the rescue to some extent. This device sits in a pit dug at your home’s lowest point, making the basement a natural location for it. Excess water flows into the pit so the sump pump can drive it into a nearby drain or well.

If you don’t provide your sump pump with regular upkeep, you can’t know for sure whether it will engage and do its job when flooding threatens to destroy your basement. Ask your plumbing technicians to schedule periodic inspections of your entire plumbing system, including the sump pump, and fix any problems that they find. Consider having your plumber install a battery back-up sump pump system as well.

If your basement plumbing presents you with puzzling or worrying questions, rest assured that Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., has the answers. Call (630) 964-2222 to schedule a routine plumbing inspection from our experienced technicians or ask for help with a particular basement plumbing problem.

7 Top Causes of Plumbing Leaks

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

The signs of plumbing leaks often manifest as unsightly marks on walls and ceilings or mold growth under the sink. These signs can catch any homeowner off-guard and make you wonder about the exact cause of the leak. Worry no more, as the outline below describes seven top causes of plumbing leaks.

Smelly Shower? FAQs About This Odd Odor

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Does your shower smell? You clean the tub, tile floor, and walls regularly. But every time the scented spray dries, the odor returns — and you’re left wondering why your bathroom smells more than just off. If your shower smells, take a look at what you need to know about your home’s plumbing system and the possible culprits behind the odd odor.

Can You Find the Source of the Smell?

You may need to play detective and sniff out the source of the problem. Even though it may seem like the shower is at fault for the offending odor, it’s also possible the sink, toilet, or another area of the bathroom is the cause. If the entire room smells, it’s unlikely that you could pinpoint the source by yourself. But if the scent is significantly stronger when you stand over the shower’s drain, you may have found the plumbing problem.

What Should You Do If You Can’t Find the Source of the Shower Smell?

You could cover the scent with air fresheners, but this won’t fix the problem and could result in additional plumbing problems or damage. If you can’t sniff out the source of the odor, contact a qualified plumber to inspect and assess the issue. A plumber has the experience, knowledge, and equipment to locate the cause, diagnose a potential problem, and repair your shower or its plumbing system if needed.

What Should You Do If You Can Find the Source of the Shower Smell?

The answer to this question is also to contact a qualified plumber. Your detective skills paid off and your sniffing revealed a pungent smell coming from the shower’s drain. What should you do next? While it’s tempting to clean or clear the drain area yourself, this type of DIY approach can cause more problems or fail to fix the real issue at fault. Even though you believe that you’ve found the source of the problem, you need a professional to diagnose the issue and clean or repair the drain or other part of your shower.

Why Does Your Shower Smell?

Now that you know more about the first step to take (finding the source of the smell), you may want to learn more about the possible problems that could cause an odd or offensive odor. While some shower smells come from mold, mildew, or other surface-level debris issues, others start deep inside of the drain.

Common reasons behind a shower odor (other than mildew, mold, or failure to clean the surface) include biofilm inside of the drain or pipes, other types of buildup inside of the drain or pipes, clogs, a problem with the p-trap, leaky pipes, or sewer line clogs or cracks. Only a qualified plumber should diagnose and repair any of these potential problems.

Are There Other Signs To Look For?

The plumber will need to know if you’ve noticed other issues that go beyond the odd odor. Many of the causes behind shower odors such as clogs and debris-coated pipes also come with other noticeable symptoms. If the odor is the result of a drain clog, you may also notice that your shower is slow to drain or there is constantly standing water in the tub. The same is true for debris-coated pipes. However, if a leak or cracked pipe is the issue, you are likely to see water on the floor, or the ceiling below the shower, or have an abnormally high water bill.

What Should You Do If Your Shower Smells Like A Sewer?

While many shower smells come from directly under the tub or stall floor, it’s possible the odor has worked its way up from the main sewer line or is the result of a serious leak. At higher levels, sewer gas may pose a risk to your health. The hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide compounds could cause throat and respiratory system irritation, headaches, fatigue, organ failure, or other serious health issues. This makes it essential to find the cause of the sewer gas and repair the problem as soon as possible.

Clogs in your home’s main drain, dry or malfunctioning p-traps, blocked vents, and cracked pipes can all result in the release of sewer gasses. A plumber can find the source of the problem and repair it fully. Without the proper fix, the backup could continue and sewer gas could make its way into your shower and bathroom again.

How Will the Plumber Stop the Odor?

There isn’t one answer to this question. The repair or remedy necessary depends on the specific problem. If the shower odor is the result of a clogged or debris-coated drain, the contractor may need to power-rod or power-jet the pipes. While this type of professional-level cleaning will stop a backup-related smell, it won’t fix a leak. Instead, the plumber will need to find the source of the leak and repair or replace the pipes.

Do you need to schedule a plumbing assessment or repair? Contact Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. for more information.

Remodeling Your Home? Consider These 5 Plumbing Improvements

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Woman Wetting Toothbrush in Sink — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncA new year often means a new desire to make things better than ever for yourself and your family. As you make your plans to eat more wisely, get more exercise, and finish long-delayed projects, you may decide to renovate or remodel your home, in which case you may also want to look at your current plumbing system.

A general home remodeling project presents an excellent opportunity for you to correct inefficiencies, damage, or outdated components that need replacement in your plumbing system. Give serious thought to making the following five improvements.

Forget the DIY Faucet Installation and Hire a Professional

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Sink — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncWhy should you hire a plumber to install a new bathroom sink faucet? The DIY blogs and video tutorials may make this plumbing job seem easy. But in reality, this is a service that often requires professional help. If you’re ready to remodel your bathroom or replace the faucet, take a look at what you need to know about this fixture, your home’s plumbing, and the installation options.

Do You Really Need to Replace a Bathroom Sink Faucet?

4 Tips for Keeping Your Sump Pump Working Properly this Winter

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Sump Pump — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncIf you have a sump pump in your basement to help prevent basement flooding, then you may believe the common misconception that this sump pump is only important during the rainy months of the year and not during the cold, snowy winter.

However, your sump pump is just as important during the winter months as it is during the spring and summer because it helps divert melted snow and ice away from your basement to prevent flooding during the many freeze-thaw cycles that accompany the snowy season.

For this reason, you should always take steps to keep your sump pump working properly during the winter months and keep an eye out for any pump problems that can occur during the cold months of the year.

Read on to learn four tips for keeping your sump pump working properly this winter.

4 Advantages of Power Rodding Over Hydro Jetting

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Power Rodding — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncA professional plumber is your best resource to clear clogged drains. Two of the more common ways to get rid of deep clogs are with a power rodder or a hydro jet. The service option you choose can make a big difference for your pipes. While both may get rid of the main clog, you will find many advantages with a power rodding service.

Learn about power rodding and all of the advantages that it has versus hydro jetting.

1. Chops Clogs Up

Gas Pipe Problems: Questions and Answers

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Gas Pipe — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

According to the most current data from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), the ignition of natural gas accounts for some 4,200 residential fires and an average of 40 deaths per year. Even when explosions don’t occur, U.S. fire departments must address an average of 340 daily calls involving gas leaks that don’t involve fires.

Unless you know your residential plumbing inside and out, you may not understand how gas circulates through your home, what kinds of problems can affect gas line function, and how your plumber can help you fix or prevent such problems. Get up to speed on the subject with these frequently asked questions and their answers.

8 Plumbing Issues to Look Out for in Older Houses

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Plumbing Issue — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncOld homes have an irresistible, rustic charm that entices many homeowners. However, your charming period home may be hiding numerous plumbing problems that can frustrate you if you don’t get them taken care of. Explore some common issues below.

1. Outdated Pipe Materials 

Plumbing materials have evolved to give way from metal to more durable and flexible options like PVC and PEX piping. Historically, plumbers have used lead, copper, cast iron, and concrete as pipe materials. When buying an older home, have a plumber look at the type of pipe material it has. Additionally, an expert plumber can check the condition of the pipes and recommend necessary repairs.

4 Things to Know About Power Rodding

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Power Rodding — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

If you are calling around about preventative maintenance for your sewer line, or if you have a clog present in your sewer line, you may hear plumbers tell you about power rodding. Power rodding is a term that the average person may not be familiar with, even though it is a technique that is regularly used by plumbers.

Learning about power rodding can give you insight into this plumbing technique so you can better understand plumbers who may be offering services to you. Here are four things you should know about power rodding.

  1. What the Benefits of Power Rodding Your Sewage Line Are

Power rodding involves the use of a metal cable that rotates, helping to loosen and break up debris. Ultimately, this helps to clear up a breakage

5 Kitchen Upgrades Ideal for Home Chefs

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Kitchen Upgrades — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

If you are an avid home chef, then you may not realize that you can add many kitchen upgrades to your home that can make meal preparation and cleanup quicker, easier, and more enjoyable.

Read on to learn about five kitchen upgrades that are ideal for home chefs.

  1. Chef’s Sink

One kitchen upgrade that has become very popular among avid home cooks in recent years is the installation of a chef’s sink. A traditional residential kitchen sink typically comprises just one or two sink bowl compartments and a faucet. On the other hand, a chef’s sink, also called a workstation sink, contains many additional components designed to aid in food preparation and cleanup. 

5 Plumbing Home Improvements That Increase Home Value

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Bathroom — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncIf you plan to sell your home soon, then you may wonder if there are plumbing upgrades that can increase the value of your home when you place it on the market. While the return on investment (ROI) of any home improvement project can vary based on where a home is located and many other factors, there are some plumbing-based upgrades that tend to have a great ROI throughout the country.

Read on to learn about five plumbing-based home improvements that can increase the resale value of your home and why.

  1. Replace Outdated Plumbing Pipes

If your home is filled with plumbing pipes made from outdated materials, such as galvanized steel, then replace these pipes with pipes made from

Is a Tankless Water Heater the Right Choice for You?

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Tankless Water Heater — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc
In many homes, hot water comes from a large tank where water is heated, spent, and heated again. But one of the latest innovations of home utility comes in the form of a water heater with no tank at all.

Tankless water heaters come with many benefits and, like most appliances, a few drawbacks to keep in mind, but ultimately their use depends on how good of a fit they are for you. Learn more about these heaters so you can decide if one of them is right for you.

What Are Tankless Heaters?

4 Bathroom Upgrades Ideal for Family Use

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Do you have a growing family? Perhaps you’ve recently married or had a partner move in. No matter your family situation, you need the bathroom space and functionality to meet the needs of all family members. The same way you adapt other rooms in the home, you should consider some plumbing upgrades in your home bathrooms.

Discover some easy-to-implement upgrades for your bathrooms.A Couple Brushing Their Teeth — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

  1. Double Vanity Sinks

Another person in the house means you have another person going through the same daily bathroom routines like brushing teeth and washing hands. To help make the bathroom use more manageable, consider the installation of a double vanity sink. With a double sink, a family member can have their own side with items like a toothbrush and toothpaste.

For adults, teenagers, or older children sharing a bathroom, this will allow for less stressful and more productive bathroom routines. You don’t have to coordinate schedules for when each person uses the sink, and you benefit from additional room so you don’t have to squabble over counter space for bathroom supplies.

4 Modern Outdoor Water Faucet Types and Their Unique Benefits

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Woman Washing Hands in Outdoor Water Faucets — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

Now that springtime is on its way, learn about all of your outdoor water faucet options to determine if your home has the faucet type best for the family’s needs.

The most common outdoor faucet type consists of a spigot, or a hose bib, coupled with a simple compression valve. While this faucet style allows your family to obtain cold water outdoors when necessary, it lacks many of the benefits of today’s modern outdoor water faucets.

Learn about four modern outdoor water faucet types and each of their unique benefits.

4 Eco-Friendly Toilet Upgrade Options

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Toilet — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

Older toilets can end up using a lot of water on a daily basis. If you are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint and energy bill, then consider upgrading the toilets in your home. A newtoilet and professional installation come with many benefits that directly impact you and the environment.

Learn about the eco-friendly upgrades and how each one helps the environment.

  1. Toilet Tank Replacement

The older your toilet is, the more water waste the plumbing fixture creates on a daily basis. Toilets have improved over time to reduce the amount of water used and a full replacement can make a big difference in your home.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Water Shutoff Valves

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Hand Spins Water Shutoff Valve — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc
Every homeowner should know where their home’s water shutoff valves are located and how they work. These valves help you control the flow of water into and throughout your home. They can also help you prevent extensive home water damage if a water fixture malfunctions or a water pipe bursts and you need to shut off the flow of water in your home in a hurry.

Read on to learn more about your home’s water shutoff valves, the valve types available today, and the signs you need new valves.

Shutoff Valves Present in Homes

3 Seemingly Small Toilet Problems That Can Have Big Consequences

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Cleaned Toilet — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc

While many toilet problems are obvious, such as a clogged toilet or toilet that just won’t flush, others are less apparent. However, many small toilet problems can be symptoms of larger problems. If not resolved, they can lead to even bigger problems.

Read on to learn about three small toilet problems that should not be ignored.

1. Gurgling

If you hear a gurgling sound coming from your toilet bowl when it is not being flushed, do not ignore this noise, because toilet gurgling is typically a symptom of a much larger plumbing problem.

Two plumbing problems that can cause a toilet to gurgle include a clogged main sewer line and a clogged vent stack. Your home’s vent stack is a pipe that allows sewer gasses to escape from your home.

Plumbing Misconceptions That Can Damage Your Home

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Modern Bathroom — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncThrough the years, plumbing misconceptions have been passed down from generation to generation. Unfortunately, this misinformation could lead to more problems than solutions.

Learn about some of the biggest plumbing myths, problems that can occur, and ways to avoid the problems so your plumbing runs smoothly in the future. If you have accidentally fallen for any of the misconceptions, you will also learn some of the solutions plumbers can use to help.

1. Using Bricks to Save Water

3 Plumbing Terms All Homeowners Should Know and Understand

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Toilet Tank — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncFrom bringing water into your home to disposing of water and waste, plumbing is a key part of your home. However, the plumbing system is not just a series of pipes that transport water and waste to and from your home — it also consists of various fixtures and appliances. While the system is important and prominent, homeowners may not fully understand each element of their plumbing or septic systems.

By knowing a few key plumbing terms, you will have a better understanding of your home’s plumbing system, the way it operates, the problems it might incur, and the best techniques to maintain it. Learn about three important plumbing terms you should know and understand.

1. Flapper

4 Plumbing Services Ideal for Old Home Purchases

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Plumbing for Old Homes — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, IncAn old home comes with a lot of history, character, and unique architectural designs, but as a homeowner of an old home, you must also deal with some of the older technology that may not serve you as well for modern times. Before you get settled down into your home, learn about plumbing services to help get the house up to date and to provide smooth water operations.

From the kitchen to the bathroom, plumbing services will go a long way in providing you with a functional home. The services will also help prevent some major disasters in the future.

1. Power Rodding

5 Strange Plumbing Symptoms and Their Meanings

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Plumbing Symptoms — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.Not all plumbing problems explain themselves through their outward symptoms. While you might immediately recognize an obvious water leak on your kitchen floor or a clogged drain that makes a sink or tub unusable, other trouble signs may only produce confusion rather than pointing toward clear causes and solutions.

Here are five unsettling issues homeowners may encounter.

1. Shaking or Knocking Fixtures

Sometimes a plumbing fixture may start to shake or vibrate for no clear reason. You may have noticed this shaking motion in your kitchen sink faucets, shower heads, or other points where water drains from the system. This motion may occur alongside rattling or knocking noises at the fixture or from wall-mounted pipes.

A Guide to Choosing a Sump Pump for Your Basement

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Sump Pump — Lisle, IL — Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.If you own a home with a basement that tends to flood when it rains, then you may have considered installing a sump pump. Sump pumps offer an economical way to direct water away from your basement to keep it dry, and these pumps are especially effective when basement flooding is from water seeping between the basement slab and foundation wall or you live in an area prone to general flooding.

Like many homeowners, you may know what sump pumps are but do not understand what all of your pump options are and how to choose the right sump pump for your home.

Read on to learn about sump pump types and how to choose the right sump pump for your home.

Sump Pump Types

To effectively prevent basement flooding, you should choose one standalone sump pump powered by electricity and one backup pump that requires no electricity to run while continuing to direct water away from your basement during a power outage.

Understanding 4 Frustrating Toilet Failures

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Of all the household devices that you depend on to do their job when you need them the most, the toilet surely ranks toward the top of the list. Toilets contain a variety of hoses, valves, seals, and moving parts. A problem in any of these components can suddenly leave you with a frustrating problem.

Even if you have every intention of leaving the fixes to the experts, you may rest easier simply by knowing what’s probably going wrong in your toilet. Take a look at these four all-too-common toilet-related failures.

  1. The Toilet Simply Won’t FlushPlunger Next To Clogged Toilet - Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer

Your toilet may fail to flush when you push the flush handle. This common occurrence can cause considerable inconvenience and embarrassment until you can finally eliminate the solid or liquid waste from the toilet bowl. Fortunately, plumbers can usually correct this kind of problem with ease.

Your toilet flushes by dumping water from an overhead tank down into the bowl. This clean water replaces the wastewater in the bowl, pushing it downward through the toilet’s p-trap and into the sewer line. The flush handle uses an attached chain to raise a rubber flapper in the bottom of the tank.

Any failure in this relatively simple assembly can prevent your toilet from flushing. For instance, the flusher handle’s chain may detach from the rubber flapper, leaving the flapper closed when you push the handle. Alternatively, the flapper may not align properly or form a good seal with the hole in the bottom of the tank.

A toilet may refuse to flush even when the flush handle chain remains solidly connected to the flapper and the flapper fits the tank hole perfectly. In these situations, a length of the chain may sit between the flapper and the hole. This prevents the tank from filling with enough water to provide a solid flush.

  1. The Toilet Never Stops Running

You can usually tell when you have a flush chain or flapper problem because you won’t see or hear the water filling the toilet tank. However, you may suffer the opposite problem: a toilet tank that never stops running. You may see water pouring out of the flush valve even though the tank’s water level never rises.

Your toilet tank gets its water supply from a plumbing pipe located next to the toilet. This water runs through a fill tube perched over a cylinder called an overflow tube, which directs water to the bottom of the tank. As the water level rises, a float valve rises with it. At a certain height, the float valve shuts off the water flow.

If your toilet tank’s water level never seems to rise, your fill tube may have either detached completely or gotten dislodged from its usual position directly over the overflow tube. Either way, your tank may never collect more than a small amount of water, never reaching the proper level to shut itself off.

If your overflow tube seems to do its job correctly, then you may have to turn your attention to the flapper. A worn flapper that has lost its sealing power may allow water to drip through the tank instead of accumulating in it.

  1. The Toilet Has Sprung a Leak

Any plumbing problem that results in a wet floor can prove understandably alarming. If you see water around the base of your toilet, you need to contact a plumber before you use the toilet again. In the meantime, turn off the water supply at the wall valve.

You may find out that the water on your floor has leaked out of the wall valve directly. Your plumber may need to replace the malfunctioning valve to restore normal, trouble-free service.

Sometimes, the base of a toilet experiences a malfunction that causes it to leak. Your toilet’s bolts may have come loose, for instance, or its wax seal may have broken or worn out. Another possibility is a broken toilet flange or collar. However, you can’t always attribute mysterious puddles of water to leakage. The water might come from condensation dripping down a cold toilet.

  1. The Toilet Smells Like a Sewer

Normally, the p-trap in your toilet keeps sewer gas out of your bathroom. This curved length of tubing traps holds a certain amount of water at all times, creating a barrier between the sewer line and your home.

A toilet that smells like sewer gas may have developed a critical breach that undoes this safeguard. A failed wax seal can sometimes allow sewer gas into the bathroom. A toilet that has no water in it at all (has gone unused for months) will permit sewer gas to creep up through the p-trap.

The experienced plumbers at Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc., can resolve these and other annoying toilet problems quickly and effectively. Call us at 630-964-2222 to set up an appointment.

3 Common Home Sewer Line Problems and How to Prevent Them

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

One very important part of your home’s plumbing system is your lateral home sewer line. All wastewater created in your home, including the water that flows down your home drains and wastes you flush down the toilet, flows out of your home through this line and into your city’s main sewer system.

If this line becomes clogged or damaged, then it can lead to plumbing problems throughout your entire home. Read on to learn about three common lateral sewer line problems and how to prevent these problems, if possible. 

Child Flushed Toys Down the Toilet? What to Do

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Bathroom

Children do the funniest (and most inconvenient) things with their toys. They put toys up their nose, lose them in the backyard and, occasionally, flush them down the toilet. If you’re the parent of a small child, someday you may find yourself dealing with a toy that’s been flushed down your toilet. If this happens in your home, knowing what to do can help you get the toilet back to normal as soon as possible.

Here are some actions you should take to protect your plumbing from children’s toys.

5 Things You Should Know About Garbage Disposals

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5 Things You Should Know About Garbage Disposals

If your kitchen does not have a garbage disposal, you may seriously want to consider installing one. These handy appliances, mounted underneath the sink, collect and grind food waste. The garbage disposal uses electricity, which is why it needs to be near an outlet.

Once everything is connected, you simply flip the switch and turn on the garbage disposal. An impeller plate inside the garbage disposal turns rapidly and pulverizes the food into bits. This is how a garbage disposal works. Before installing one, learn about some more things you should know.

Signs of Water Heater Failure and New Water Heater Options

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Water Heater Tanks

No water heater lasts forever, and eventually, all water heaters fail. While tank-style water heaters can last up to 15 years with routine maintenance, neglecting this maintenance can greatly reduce their lifespans. Read on to learn some telltale signs that it is likely time to replace your water heater and whether you should opt for a tankless water heater or a traditional tank-style heater.

What Are Some Signs of Water Heater Failure?

While your plumber can help you make the final decision whether to repair or replace your existing water heater, the following are signs that it is likely time to replace your water heater. 

4 Situations That Are Plumbing Emergencies

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Pipe Burst

Your plumbing system doesn’t come with a warning system. When something is about to go wrong, there’s no flashing red light that warns of impending problems. In most instances, proper maintenance and regular plumbing inspections will warn you of major plumbing problems.

However, if you’re a homeowner, you are bound to have unexpected problems with your plumbing at one time or another. Many companies offer plumbing services outside of normal work hours. However, these services can be expensive. A plumbing job during normal business hours can easily cost twice as much when handled after hours.

A Comprehensive Guide on Power Rodding

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog, Plumbing Systems, Plumbing Tips

When a stubborn clog comes between you and your plumbing system, you want it taken care of right away. Your trusted plumber will have plenty of tools in their arsenal to quickly dislodge clogs and return your drains to normal.

Power rodding offers a powerful way of tackling tough clogs and other obstructions that prove difficult or even impossible to remove any other way. Read on to discover everything you wanted to know about the tools and processes behind power rodding and how it benefits your plumbing system.

What Can You Plant Over Your Septic Drain Field?

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Septic system professionals warn property owners not to plant trees too close to their septic drain lines or mounds. Trees send out tiny feeder roots that invade and clog septic drain lines. However, you’re encouraged to establish vegetation over your septic drain area. Here’s what you need to know about plants and your septic system.

3 Tips to Keep Your Ejector Pump in Good Shape

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Do you have basement or first-floor plumbing fixtures that are located below the street sewer drains? If so, it’s likely that you have an ejector pump on the lower level of your residence. Ejector

pumps can cause problems including home flooding. Here are three ways to keep your ejector pump working properly this spring.

A Guide to Tree Roots and Sewer Lines

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

If your wastewater drains are slow or the home’s wastewater frequently backs up into tubs and showers, the cause of the drain issue may be tree-root invasion of your home’s sewage lines. Tree roots can wreak havoc on underground drainage lines if the root invasion is not caught and cleared in time. Learn what you should know about tree roots in your drainage lines.

6 Remodeling Ideas to Make a Small Bathroom Seem Larger

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

 

Small bathrooms can be frustrating for homeowners, but certain changes can make them look larger. With a creative bathroom remodel, your small bathroom can be made to look more spacious. By choosing your fixtures wisely, installing a curbless shower, choosing colors that push back the walls, and lighting the space properly, you can make a small bathroom look more comfortable.

4 Main Causes of Sump-Pump Failure

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Can your sump pump manage the drainage in your basement or crawlspace? Or does your pump fail at the worst times? If you need reliable water removal in your basement, you may need to replace your pump with one or more new sump pumps.

Sump pumps fail for a number of reasons. When you know the reason (or reasons) why your sump pump failed, you can choose a better model next time. Here’s more about four main causes of sump pump failure to help you understand your sump pump.

Don’t Turn Your Sink Into a Trash Can: Be Kind to Your Disposal

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Sadly, one of the most abused aspects of home plumbing is the kitchen garbage disposal. Many people treat the disposal as a “catch all” for food scraps and even non-food items. If you want your disposal to last, however, it’s best to use it properly.

Maintaining your disposal is easy. When you only use your disposal for its correct purpose, you’ll have little, if any, trouble with it in the future. Here’s what you need to do to make sure you’re being kind to your kitchen disposal.

Blocked Sewer Vents: An Often-Overlooked Plumbing Issue

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

When you think of clogged plumbing, blockages in drain pipes are probably the first issue that comes to mind. But there’s another part of your plumbing system that can become blocked: your sewer vents. Located on the roof, these vent pipes allow gases to escape from your sewer system. They regulate the air pressure in your system, allowing waste to flow freely. If they become blocked, your system won’t drain properly. Here’s a closer look at this issue.

Signs That Your Sewer Vents Are Blocked

The signs of a blocked sewer vent often mimic those of a blockage in the drain pipe. For this reason, some cases of blocked vents go undiagnosed for months or years while the homeowners try DIY fixes to clear drain lines-but to no avail. The following are common signs that your sewer vents could be blocked.

Gurgling Noises

You may hear gurgling or even see water bubbling up and out of the drains as they drain. You may also hear gurgling coming from your toilet shortly after you flush. The gurgling is caused by air escaping through the drain. The air should be flowing up and out of the sewer vents, but since they are blocked, it has nowhere else to escape but through the drains.

Note that in some cases, you may hear gurgling in drains other than the one you’re using at the moment. For example, if you flush a toilet, you may hear gurgling in the tub. This indicates that these two plumbing fixtures share a vent-and it is blocked. In some cases, gurgling noises indicate that there is no vent for that particular drain or fixture.

Slow Drains

A single slow drain usually indicates a blockage in the drain itself. And slow drains can certainly be an indication that there’s something clogging your main sewer pipe. However, if all of the drains in your home are slow and you’re also noticing the other issues described in this section, blocked sewer vents are more likely to blame.

Sewage Odors

The air emitted from your sewer lines doesn’t smell like a bed of roses! If you notice sewage odors coming from your drains and toilets, but you don’t see any overt sewage backups or spills, what you’re probably smelling is the air escaping through the drains.

Causes of Blocked Sewer Vents and Their Solutions

There are a number of possible causes of blocked sewer vents. These three are the most common.

Snow Buildup

If you started to experience the problems described above after a snowstorm, snow on the roof is probably blocking your sewer vent. This is most likely to occur on a flat roof, from which the snow does not drain properly, or after a really heavy snowstorm that results in several feet of snow on the roof.

In the short-term, your plumber can fix the issue by clearing snow away from the vent and melting any snow that has made its way down inside of the vent. However, to prevent this issue from occurring again, they’ll also want to replace your vent pipe with a longer one that extends above the level of snow on your roof.

Debris Buildup

Your plumbing vent should be angled at the end to prevent leaves and other debris from making their way into it. If your sewer vent is filled with debris, your plumber may remove it using a special grabbing tool. Then, the vent pipe may be re-angled and a new cap may be put into place to keep debris from clogging it again.

Sewage Clogs

There may be a clog in the sewer line right where it meets the vent pipe. This blockage keeps air from traveling up the vent pipe properly. Sometimes, these clogs comprise materials like wet wipes and feminine hygiene products, which homeowners commonly flush even though they are really not designed to go down the drain.

This kind of blockage is the hardest to remove. Your plumber may need to access the blockage through the vent on the roof, pushing a plumbing auger down through the system to grab onto the offending material and pull it out. In the future, sticking to flushing only human waste and toilet paper will keep you from dealing with the same problem again.

If you’re having trouble with slow drains and sewer odors, and plunging your drains has not fixed the issue, then it’s definitely time to call Jim Dhamer Plumbing. Whether the blockage truly is in your vent pipes or in your main sewer line, it’s important to deal with it promptly before it results in raw sewage or smelly air flowing into your home.

Remodeling Your Kitchen? 5 Benefits of Working With a Professional Plumber

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Remodeling can help you craft your dream home, regardless of your home’s current condition. However, for the renovation to be as beautiful and functional as you imagine, it’s important the job be done correctly. In a previous blog, “Bathroom Remodeling 101: A Homeowner’s Guide to a Successful Remodel,” we provided a number of bathroom-specific tips and stressed the importance of working with a professional. In this blog, we discuss five benefits of working with a professional, licensed plumber during your kitchen remodel.

  1. Ability to Rearrange Appliances

Think about your desired kitchen design. Are any of your appliances going to change location? Are you replacing some or all of your appliances? Are you adding a new appliance? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s in your best interest to work with a plumber.

Plumbing systems in the kitchen are complex, especially if you’ve never worked on piping before. Even installing a new refrigerator or moving your oven to a different location may require rearranging a small amount of the pipework, including the gas line.

Additionally, if you plan to move or upgrade an appliance that is connected to a water source, like your dishwasher or sink, you’ll want the help of a plumber. In some cases, newer appliances require that you rework the plumbing where it attaches to the appliance. Professional help is particularly important if you want to place an appliance in an unconventional location, such as a kitchen island.

If you try to remodel your kitchen on your own, the changes you can make to your appliances may be limited. With the help of a plumber, you can achieve the kitchen layout you imagine.

  1. Evaluation of Current Plumbing Conditions

Before you begin the process of actually remodeling, it’s important to have your home systems inspected. These systems include your wiring and your pipework. If you fail to have your plumbing system evaluated, you may need to remove appliances or pull up your new materials to make major repairs in the near future.

A professional plumber can assess your pipework, make any necessary repairs, and provide you with recommendations to keep the system healthy and functional. This inspection serves as an opportunity to identify and resolve any existing problems or to prevent other issues from developing over time.

  1. Ideas Backed by Expertise

Unless you have a contracting or plumbing background, your vision for your kitchen may not include the most practical or efficient options. When you work with a professional, all of his or her suggestions are backed by experience.

A plumber can help you decide on the most energy efficient appliances, avoid common layout pitfalls, and reduce your daily water usage through design choices.

  1. Reduced Risk of Water Damage

Whenever you perform a DIY project involving pipework, you run the risk of serious water damage. A mistake as simple as forgetting to turn the water off can ruin your materials, cause structural problems, and delay your renovation.

Instead, have a trained team handle any tasks that require proximity to water pipes. A professional plumber’s presence can protect you from leaks, burst pipes, and other serious forms of water damage.

Not only does working with a plumber prevent these issues during the initial renovation, but correct plumbing work protects you from plumbing problems after your project is complete. If a leak or other problem should appear at a later date, having your worked backed by a warranty and professional experience is important.

  1. Simplified Permit Processes

Like your plumbing system itself, obtaining the correct building permits can be complex. While some building codes are state or county-wide, some restrictions or guidelines may apply to smaller areas such as your specific city.

If you remodel without all the appropriate permits, you do not have the correct documentation for the construction. You may be unable to sell your home without an inspection, retroactive permits, and a potential fine in the future.

A plumber who routinely serves homeowners in your area has the knowledge to advise regarding the necessary permits. Once the work is complete, you’ll have a record of these permits that legitimizes all your kitchen renovations. These records can simplify inspections related to resale or insurance claims, as well as put potential buyers at ease when deciding whether to invest in your property.

As you anticipate your kitchen remodeling work, remember that the right tools and expertise are just as important as your materials and design. Work with a professional to take advantage of the benefits listed above. Planning a renovation in the Chicagoland area? Work with Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. to ensure that the final product matches your vision.

Have a Clog? Don’t Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog, Plumbing Tips

You know the signs of a clogged drain all too well. Instead of flowing quietly through your plumbing, the water gurgles and glugs. Over time, the small pools that form around your drain as you wash dishes or your hands eventually turn into little lakes. In some cases, the water backs out of your drain after seeming to go down, and what comes up looks dirtier than what you originally rinsed away.

You also know that if you don’t handle the clog quickly that it could contribute to leaks and flooding. You don’t want to go through the hassle of calling a plumber, so you feel tempted to rely on a chemical drain cleaner instead. After all, the advertisements suggest that the formula will quickly scour your pipes and break down any debris. Soon you can go back to washing your clothes or bathing your children as normal.

But don’t grab that plastic jug just yet.

Despite manufacturer claims, chemical drain cleaners may do your plumbing more harm than good. Unless you use a product specifically recommended by your plumber, your cleaner may have the following problems.

1. The Fumes Are Toxic

Take a quick look at your drain cleaner’s label. You’ll likely see a lengthy list of warnings describing the negative health effects. Although these health effects vary depending on the product, you can experience skin irritation or even severe burns if you spill the cleaner on your skin.

Even if you were to exercise the utmost care when pouring the chemicals down your drain, the formula will still release fumes into the air, and these fumes can linger for days after usage. If inhaled, many drain cleaners cause difficulty breathing, chest pain, and fainting.

2. The Chemicals Erode Pipes

Different products rely on varying chemicals to unclog your pipes. Caustic drain cleaners, for example, use caustic potash or lye to dissolve clogs. Oxidizing cleaners often feature nitrates, bleach, and peroxides. Acid drain cleaners have hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.

But no matter which product you use, you can expect your chemical drain cleaner to react with the hair, scum, and debris in your plumbing and create heat. The reaction and resulting heat can soften modern PVC pipes and corrode older copper, steel, and cast-iron pipes, especially if used incorrectly.

If your pipes have already suffered minor damage or corrosion from general wear and tear, the chemicals could worsen the condition of your plumbing and increase the likelihood of leaks.

3. The Formula Upsets Bacterial Balance

If your plumbing connects to a septic tank rather than a municipal sewer system, you should avoid chemical drain cleaners as much as possible.

Septic tanks contain a delicate balance of bacteria colonies and chemicals. When you flush waste down your plumbing, the bacteria break down and consume the debris that accumulates in your tank, and the remaining water flows away into your drain field.

However, experts have found that only 12 grams of bleach (or similar drain cleaner) can effectively kill many of the bacteria colonies in your tank. Without adequate bacteria in your septic tank, the waste will accumulate, and you’ll have to pump and replace your failing system.

4. The Results Are Temporary

If you have a small, manageable clog, a mild store-bought drain cleaner might help you clear away some of the debris and allow the water to flow smoothly once more. But keep in mind that drain cleaners have limits, and they won’t compensate for undersized, outdated, or damaged plumbing.

Clogs can occur for a variety of reasons, not just the food you toss down the
disposal or the hair you shed in the bath. If you have a backed up sewer line, broken pipe, or non-dissolvable item (such as a toy or tool) lodged in your plumbing, drain cleaner will only address surface buildup rather than the underlying cause.

If you’re lucky, the product will give you enough clearance to restore minimal water flow, but your pipes might clog again and again and again, despite frequent cleanings. If you’re unlucky, the drain cleaner will sit on top of the clog and continually eat at your already compromised pipes, resulting in additional damage.

Call Your Plumber Whenever You Have a Clog

Chemical drain cleaners have a lot to offer homeowners: convenience, affordability, and speed, to name a few. But unless you know the precise nature of the clog, the overall condition of your pipes, and how the ingredients will react in your plumbing, you’ll be better off skipping the drain cleaners and talking to a reliable plumber.

When you schedule professional drain cleaning, you can rest easy knowing that the plumber will only use professional equipment. Additionally, your plumber can thoroughly inspect your pipes and pinpoint any problems that would result in repeated clogs.

Water Heaters: Tank Vs. Tankless

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

For every shower, clean dish, or fresh shirt, you need hot water. Without it, cleaning might not be as effective, and showers can be painfully chilly. But while a water heater benefits every house, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right water heater for your needs.

Today, tankless water heaters are available, giving the average homeowner an alternative to the traditional tank water heater. But how does this tankless option compare to a tank water heater? To learn more about the pros and cons of each water heater, keep reading. We’ll discuss how they’re different and how they’ll affect your home life and wallet.

Tank Water Heaters

With traditional water heaters, a large tank fills with water and heats it up. When you use some of the water, the tank refills and continues to heat to make up for the lost water.

Pros

Traditional water heaters are used in plenty of homes across the country, and despite being an older technology, they still have their advantages:

  • Reasonable repairs and maintenance. If something should go wrong with your tank water heater, the maintenance and repairs are fairly inexpensive compared to tankless water heaters.
  • More affordable installation. Out of the two water heaters, tank water heaters can cost less to install.
  • Easy installation. While tank water heaters are easy to install, they also have fewer limitations as to where they can be placed. They don’t always require electricity, so as long as they get enough fuel, they’ll operate smoothly just about anywhere in your utility room, basement, garage or another suitable place.

You might decide that with these benefits, a tank water heater is best for your home.

Cons

However, like any appliance, tank water heaters have their downsides too. But, depending on the size of your family and home, some of these may not be much of a nuisance as all:

  • Large in size. Tank water heaters are rather bulky, so if you don’t already have a place for one, it can be difficult to locate a suitable space. Or, even if you do have an area for it, it can take up prime space in your garage or closet.
  • Short life span. When the two water heaters are set side by side, tank water heaters may not last as long. On average, they last about 10 to 15 years, and then they’ll need to be replaced.
  • Costly utility bills. Because these water heaters constantly keep water hot, they use up quite a bit of fuel to maintain the same temperature. Compared to tankless water heaters, this option results in more expensive utility bills.
  • Limited hot water supply. Water heater tanks only hold so much water at a time, and it takes a while for it to fill up again. So, if everyone in your family takes a lengthy shower, the last person might get a spray of icy cold water.

If these downsides are too much for you, consider a tankless water heater instead.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand by heating the water as it flows through the heater. For instance, some tankless water heaters heat two or three gallons of water per minute at a constant rate.

Pros

The setup and operation of a tankless water heater allows a few helpful benefits, and you may find that these suit your situation better than your tank water heater.

  • Small size. Unlike tank water heaters, tankless water heaters don’t constantly hold water. As a result, these water heaters are quite a bit smaller, so they can fit in slimmer areas.
  • Requires minimal maintenance. Tankless water heaters don’t need a ton of work or repairs over the years, so you don’t have to worry too much about them breaking or slowing down. Annual flushing/descaling is recommended.
  • Long-lasting operation. Despite not needing a ton of maintenance, tankless water heaters do have a longer life span than tank systems. These can last over two decades, so you can rest assured your water heater will last for some time.
  • Constant hot water. With tankless water systems, you don’t have to worry about running out of water. Since water runs directly through the water heater and heats instantly, you can count on getting hot water whenever you need it.
  • Lower utility bills. Because tankless water systems only work on demand, you’ll use less energy on a regular basis, and you won’t have to pay as much for monthly utilities.
    If these benefits are what you’re looking for, a tankless water heater is a great option.

Cons

This newer technology also has its disadvantages in regards to your wallet. Depending on your finances, tankless water heaters may not be the best option.

  • Expensive installation. While tankless water heaters can be more inexpensive in the long run, they cost quite a bit more to install than their tank counterparts.
  • Limited installation locations. Tankless water heaters need to be in close proximity to a power source, and this can complicate the installation a bit. You may need a little bit of electrical work done to accommodate the water heater placement.
  • Costly repairs and maintenance. If something does go wrong with your water heater, it can be an expensive affair. Be sure you’re prepared for the expense just in case.

If your primary concern is the amount of money a new water heater will cost, tankless might not be a great option for you.

When you’re trying to decide between tank and tankless water heaters, use the information above. But if you’re still having trouble, speak to Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. We can help you find the best fit for your home or business, and once you make a decision, we’ll professionally install the water heater for you.

8 Signs Your Toilet Needs to Be Replaced

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

You put a lot of effort into maintaining your home and ensuring everything is in working order. One of the most important systems you need to maintain is your plumbing. And when your toilet doesn’t work properly or it appears to be damaged, the ordeal can be frustrating, and it can be difficult to determine when it’s time to give in and replace the toilet entirely.

Below, we’ll discuss eight signs that it may be time for a toilet replacement.

1. Constant Clogging

Nobody likes to deal with a clogged toilet. While they’re not uncommon, random or recurring clogs can indicate an issue. If you have an old, lowflush toilet, you may experience stoppages far too often. If you experience clogs more than once a week, or the clogs seem random and odd, you should probably replace your toilet.

If you don’t want to lose the water-saving benefits of a low-flush toilet, simply replace your current toilet with a more efficient and effective commode. Modern technologies have come a long way, and low-flush toilets are much better than they used to be.

2. Cracks

When you notice puddles of water around your toilet, you may want to check for cracks in the porcelain. While the toilet may work fine, leaks can waste a lot of water, and that water exposure can damage your flooring over time. It can also result in mold or mildew growth.

Look for cracks in the bowl or the tank of the toilet. If you notice any, or if you hear constant running from your toilet, replace it right away before the situation gets worse. If you can’t tell if there’s a crack, put dye in the water of the tank or bowl and see if the dyed water makes it to the floor.

3. Plentiful Repairs

Toilets shouldn’t need to be constantly repaired. If you find yourself regularly calling for a plumber to fix the toilet, replace it. Frequent repairs can add up, and you can save yourself a bit of cash over the years if you invest in a new toilet.

Or, if your toilet requires numerous repairs all at once, it may be cheaper to replace the toilet instead. Discuss the situation with your plumber, and he or she can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.

4. Excessive Age

Even if your toilet is a little old, it may work just fine. But older toilets are often more inefficient than the newer models, so it may be a good idea to replace your toilet and save some money and water. Consider a toilet with a dual-flush feature. It allows you to partially flush for liquid waste and fully flush for solid waste. That way, you can maximize your savings both in water use and utility costs.

5. Wobbling

If your toilet wobbles, it may be a simple problem of loose screws. A plumber can easily tighten the bolts and ensure everything is properly placed. But wobbling can also signify a bigger problem. The floor beneath the toilet may be rotting away or water damaged, so if you notice wobbling, call a professional to check it out.

6. Inefficient Flushing

When you find that your water bills are high, investing in a new, water-efficient toilet can help you keep your bills down. The average toilet uses three to five gallons of water with each flush, while a low-flush toilet uses about two gallons for every flush. If you have a large family or are environmentally conscious, such a change can help lower your water bill and water usage.

7. Surface Damages

If you have a lot of scratches on the surface of your toilet, you may want to replace your toilet for cosmetic reasons. Excessive scratches can make it difficult to keep the fixture clean. This damage is more common with older toilets that have been scrubbed numerous times over the years, so if you find that you’re cleaning your toilet more often than you should, it could be time for a replacement.

8. Built-Up Mineral Deposits

In areas with hard water, the minerals in the water can collect in the inlet holes and syphon tube. Such buildup can keep water from flowing effectively, making the toilet inefficient. In some cases, you may be able to clear some of the deposits away by chipping at the buildup, but this step is not always successful. If the buildup gets bad enough, your toilet may need replacement.

 

There can be several different signs that your toilet needs replacement, but no matter the reason, be sure you call a professional to do the job. Rely on Jim Dhamer Plumbing and Sewer, Inc. for any of your plumbing needs. We can replace your toilet efficiently, and we can help you find the right solution to your problem.

What to Do When Your Bathroom Floods

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog

Modern indoor plumbing includes some of the most useful inventions in the history of humanity. When the toilet overflows or when the shower drain backs up and floods your bathroom, you may be faced with an unpleasant situation.

When your bathroom floods, take action immediately. Follow these steps to minimize the damage to your home that the water (and maybe sewage) can do.

Interesting Highlights From the History of Indoor Plumbing

Written by Jim Dhamer Plumbing on . Posted in Blog, Plumbing Systems

Where in the world do you think the first modern plumbing systems appeared? Perhaps Europe during the Renaissance when ingenious thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci were introducing innovative ideas right and left? Or maybe ancient Roman aqueducts represent the first major step towards flushable toilets and running water?

To find the real answer, you have to go back much farther and visit a different continent. According to archaeological estimates, around 4000 to 3000 BCE, India’s Indus River Valley featured the first water pipes and sewage systems known to humankind.

Today, thousands of years later, many people enjoy the convenience of indoor plumbing every day—and consider it more of a necessity than a luxury. But indoor plumbing made some interesting stops on its way to your home. Below, discover five intriguing stories from the history of indoor plumbing.

1. Bathrooms Fit for a Mummy

Ancient Egyptians built pyramids as tombs for their dead royalty. These elaborate structures had many amenities—including bathroom-like pipes. Specifically, excavators found copper piping in the pyramid for King Suhura at Abusir. Priests likely used these copper pipes to drain water after performing daily rituals.

This early pyramid wasn’t the only one to contain indoor plumbing. Another tomb, built for the body of the god Osiris, contains a huge moat. The moat surrounds a figure of Osiris on his throne and still gets filled with water from the Nile via underground pipes 5,000 years later.

2. Pure Water for the Ancient Mayans

Around 2,000 years ago, the Mayans built the city of Tikal in what is now Guatemala. According to scholarly work done by a team from the University of Cincinnati, the city featured many notable water amenities. They created a system of reservoirs that collected rain and supplied water to the city, which was not near any major waterways.

In addition, many parts of this water collection system contained simple sand-filled filters. The sand cleaned the water and made it safer for human use. Water that didn’t pass through these filters likely aided in agriculture.

3. A Toilet Built for a Queen

Elizabeth I ruled England during a fascinating time in the nation’s history. Her contemporaries included playwright William Shakespeare and adventurer Francis Drake, and she herself accomplished much during her 44-year reign, including the legendary defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

The English Renaissance also inspired Elizabeth’s godson John Harrington to invent an early version of the flush toilet, complete with seat, bowl, and water tank. His model used a basic valve to empty the contents of the bowl after use. He installed one at Richmond Palace for Elizabeth to use and one at his own residence.

4. A Toilet Your Nose Can Appreciate

Of course, John Harrington’s rudimentary toilet wasn’t perfect. One major flaw was that the water inside the tank emitted a foul odor. Luckily, Scottish inventor Alexander Cummings devised an ingenious solution to this problem in 1775, paving the way for indoor plumbing to become commonplace.

Cummings created a trap that separated the bowl from the sewage beneath. A small valve would slide open whenever a user emptied the bowl, but then it would slide close and allow some clean, not smelly water to remain in the bowl. The trap’s shape also forced it to hold clean water, and smelly gas could not pass through to stink up the bathroom.

Today’s toilets have similar traps that perform the same function. In fact, most plumbing fixtures use traps to block sewer gas from entering a building.

5. Hot and Cold Water Join Forces

How many times have you gone to wash your hands, only to discover that the water was either too hot or too cold? The same circumstance happened to Alfred Moen in 1937, and it inspired him to create the faucet that releases both hot and cold water.

As a mechanical engineering student, Moen was uniquely qualified to solve this problem. Plus, he recognized that essentially everyone could benefit from such an invention. He designed and built prototypes but struggled to find a manufacturer. Finally, in 1947, the single-handled faucet began to sell for approximately $12 each, and demand for the product quickly rose.

Moen’s faucets are one of the most popular plumbing inventions of the 20th century. According to the Los Angeles Times, around 70% of kitchen faucets sold in the US today are the single-handled variety. And Moen himself continued to invent products that enhance indoor plumbing, including a solution for being shocked by cold water in the shower.

 

When you wash your dishes or use the restroom, you may not think much about how those conveniences became a part of your daily life. But now that you’ve read these interesting stories, you may pause and appreciate the amazing toilet, the streamlined faucet, or the hardworking showerhead. And if you experience problems with any of these fixtures, call Dhamer Plumbing for expert help resolving those issues.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.plumbingsupply.com/pmegypt.html

https://www.copper.org/publications/newsletters/discover/2005/march/article2.html

History of Plumbing Timeline

Plumbing

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/16/a-mayan-water-system-with-lessons-for-today/?_r=0

http://articles.latimes.com/2001/apr/20/local/me-53360

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Jim Dhamer
Plumbing and Sewer, Inc.

630-964-2222

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